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School children from Sale put ‘Covid-19’ questions to Boris Johnson and Andy Burnham

A group of young reporters have put questions to the Prime Minister, asking why they have not been included in the government’s discussions around Covid-19 and their futures.

Concerned about not being given a voice, pupils from a primary school in Trafford have sent questions via video to Boris Johnson and the Cabinet Office but he is yet to respond.

Now they are leading the Raise Your Hand campaign to get as many children from across the country to ask questions of the Prime Minister and other leaders involved in the conversation regarding their futures.

Andy Burnham in Sale: Image Darren Marsden

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is backing the campaign and will be taking part in a live Q&A session with Greater Manchester kids to discuss some of the most pressing issues and concerns around the coronavirus pandemic and their futures on Monday, July 6.

Three mini-reporters – Sam, Aisya and Jack, from Woodheys Primary School in Sale will be putting their questions to the mayor on behalf of thousands of primary school children across in the region.

Aisya, aged 11, said: “Why have I not been asked what I think? My opinions, as well as my parents, teachers and those in charge of Manchester and the whole country, should matter.

“I have been worried about what coronavirus means for my family, how it will affect me and my friends, school, sports, and all the fun things that we normally do.

“We want to get answers to our questions, we should always be a part of big conversations – we are small – but what we think matters and we might think about a good way to do something that a grown-up doesn’t.”

The Raise Your Hand campaign was started by Media Cubs, an after-school club that transforms the classroom into a newsroom to create, debate, and navigate the news to show children from Greater Manchester and beyond that their opinions matter and to support them to have their voices heard during these unprecedented times.

Led by a mum and journalist, Kirsty Day, Media Cubs work with kids aged seven to 11 to introduce them to creative challenges, including photography, newspaper reporting, TV interviewing, and more.

The 39-year-old from Sale, said: “This year, we have seen kids begin to value their voices through protests about climate change and Black Lives Matter. They have raised their hands and their voice to express their opinions, and we want this to continue.

“Now, they have strong opinions and burning questions for the Prime Minister and other leaders about their education, sport, and their futures post-pandemic.

“Media Cubs is supporting them to make sure this happens – so they can represent all kids across Greater Manchester and grow up knowing their opinions count too – not just the grown-ups.

“We are so proud of all of them and how they are now broadcasting confidence across our city. A big thank you goes to Mayor Andy Burnham for stepping forward to really listen to these young people and showing that Manchester is, as always pioneering, and doing things differently. It is a shame that the Prime Minister is not taking them seriously and seems to be running scared from our 11-year-old reporters.”

The mini-reporters have already been on a Bureau of Investigative Journalism Local Q&A with Lord John Bird,  founder of The Big Issue, who’s spearheading the campaign for a Future Generations Bill, Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, chair of the British Youth Council, and Sky News Correspondent, Inzamam Rashid, who recently made a programme looking at young people’s experiences of the pandemic and their hopes and fears for the future and have a separate Q&A with the Children’s Commissioner later in the month. 

Cat Smith, shadow minister for young people, said: “From the very start, young people have been excluded from the conversation on coronavirus.

“Young people deserve to have their voices heard and have questions about the impact of the pandemic on their lives and future prospects that the Government must answer.”

Children can submit their questions for the mayor by posting them on social media alongside the hashtag #AskTheMayor or sending them to Media Cubs by email team@mediacubs.co.uk  These will be collated and asked during the live Zoom call – you can register for free to watch the Q&A via Eventbrite.

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